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This is easily the best book I've listened to in a very, very long time. I'm very into erotica and romance. This was not purely romance and definitely not erotica. But it was about love, both romantic and familial and primarily centered around males. I'm a female, but I absolutely, unquestionably loved it. The story was great. But beyond that, it's the language, the terminology used by the author. He has a finesse for stating things in such beautiful ways that every word resonated with me deeply. It's not a feel good book, but still, through my tears, I was both happy and sad. It was moving in both positive and sad ways, which few books manage to accomplish. I could go on, but I think you get the message. I don't think I've ever given any book 5 stars across the board. But I couldn't identify anything negative about my experience with this book. I'm writing this shortly after I finished the book, so my rating may be based on my continual afterglow. Whatever the cause, this book is worth a listen.
26 of 27 people found this review helpful
Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
I was expecting another light read, something that I'd fly through quickly. But what I got was a beautifully written engaging story involving complex characters who touched my heart. I can't wait for Larry Benjamin to publish another book. This was a real find, and it will stay with me for a long time.
Who was your favorite character and why?
Thomas Edward, the narrator, shows the reader a world much different from his own. He is kind and loving, and these traits make him credible and finally someone the reader cares a lot about.
Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
I loved it. The story is unique and dynamic, populated with richly drawn complicated characters. I was very moved.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful
For starters, I have to admit I wasn't that keen on the narrator, his bored nasally drawl for Dondi in particular seemed so affected, and there wasn't much variation in his characterisations so that one voice seemed to bleed into another sometimes. Having said that and to be perfectly fair, I would venture a guess that this story was quite difficult to narrate with so many male characters to distinguish between, so Mr Magnus’ narration gets a 3.5/4 from me.
The story however is a different matter – it’s a must read story. I didn't fall ‘in love’ with any of the characters as I normally do. Having lived through that particularly awful period in history, when what seemed to be an entire generation of young gay men were brought to their knees (absolutely no pun intended) by that ruthless killer known as AIDS - well, it’s not something you forget quickly.
I found the writing itself to be theatrical, flamboyant, amazingly descriptive and thoroughly ‘of the moment’, and yes, I do consider Mr Benjamin to be something of a word-smith. I did shed tears at the end. It’s a shame that Dondi seemed to live up to the stereotype that exists when heterosexual people usually think of gay guys…that they’ll 'sleep' with anyone that moves and has a pulse but I'm here to tell you I knew straight guys like that, so no, it’s just plain old human behaviour. I don’t condone Dondi’s behaviour, but I can understand why he was as he was, and why people were drawn to him. Thomas Edward, black and working class, who was the narrator and principal character of the story, was there for all of them.
As far as the filthy rich Whyte family is concerned, I could honestly only gasp in wonder (read... was gobsmacked, it just boggled the imagination) at the wealth that Dondi and his brothers were surrounded by and took for granted as they grew up, and to discover that each of them – Colin, Matthew and Donovan (Dondi) – was gifted $25 million by their ‘father’ on their 18th birthdays, well it beggars belief that only Dondi went off the rails. I found Colin and Matthew to be pretty level headed all things considered, and you’ll notice I put father in inverted commas….you’ll have to read/listen to the story to get the background details on both Gio and the boys mother, Mrs Whyte (I don’t excuse her viciousness towards Dondi, but I can sort of understand it in a way, given what went on before and the fact that she was duped)…and of course, I did pick up on the line ‘the apple hasn't fallen far from the tree’ when it was uttered. I'm not going into the details of the story any further; you must read it for yourselves…oh, and watch the film ‘The Normal Heart’ , which is also set at the onset of that dreaded plague. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED . This story gets all the stars from me.